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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Mar 1;37(3):893-9.

The effect of valvular heart disease on maternal and fetal outcome of pregnancy.

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Department of Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033, USA.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between valvular heart disease (VHD) and maternal and fetal outcome in a relatively large group of patients by a comparison to a well-matched control group.


Available information regarding outcome of pregnancy in women with VHD is limited to either anecdotal reports or small series of patients without an appropriate control. A better understanding of the effects of valvular abnormalities on pregnancy outcome is of value for risk assessment and the design of a therapeutic plan.


A retrospective evaluation was made of 66 pregnancies in 64 women with VHD cared for at a tertian-care center with a high-risk obstetrics/cardiology clinic and 66 individually selected normal pregnant women matched in age, ethnicity, obstetrical and medical history, time of initial prenatal care, and year of pregnancy.


Women with VHD had a significantly higher incidence of congestive heart failure (38% vs. 0%; p < 0.00001), arrhvthmias (15% vs. 0%, p = 0.002), initiation or increase of cardiac medications (41% vs. 2%, p < 0.0001), and hospitalizations (35% vs. 2%, p < 0.0001). Mortality, however, occurred in only one patient (2% vs. 0%, p = NS) with aortic stenosis (AS) and coarctation. Moreover, VHD also had an effect on fetal outcome, resulting in an increased preterm delivery (23% vs. 6%, p = 0.03), intrauterine growth retardation (21% vs. 0%, p < 0.0001), and a reduced birth weight (2,897 +/- 838 g vs. 3,366 +/- 515 g, p = 0.0003). Increased maternal morbidity and unfavorable fetal outcome were seen mostly in patients with moderate and severe mitral stenosis (MS) and AS.


Pregnancy in women with MS and AS is associated with marked increase in maternal morbidity and unfavorable effect on fetal outcome, which are related to severity of disease. Despite high maternal morbidity, mortality is rare.

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